Safety Nets or Safety Ropes? Dynamic Benefit Incidence of Two Crisis Programs in Indonesia

Sudarno Sumarto, Asep Suryahadi, Lant Pritchett
Economic Policy
Externally Published Content, July, 2003, Final
Source: World Development 31 (7), July 2003, Pages 1257-1277

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The economic crisis caused a clear deterioration in the welfare of the Indonesian people. In this paper, we examine the appropriate method to compare the change in poverty rates over time. We then piece together a consistent series of estimates of poverty rates during the crisis from various sources, covering a period from February 1996 to February 2002. The reconciliation of these various estimates paints a very reasonable picture and neatly tracks events. The poverty rate increased from the lowest point of approximately 15% at the onset of the crisis in the middle of 1997 to the highest point of approximately 33% nearing the end of 1998. This maximum increase in poverty rate during the crisis of 18 percentage points implies that approximately 36 million additional people were pushed into absolute poverty due to the crisis. After the peak point, the poverty rate started to decline again and reached the pre-crisis level of approximately 15% at the end of 1999, implying that the lost time in poverty reduction due to the crisis was approximately 2.5years. However, the poverty rate after this point appears to have fluctuated. During 2001 and early 2002, poverty was on the rise again.

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